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We travelled up the island into the Volcanic Plateau with plans to stay at Whakapapa Camp. Fascinatingly, just outside the camp sits the now empty Chateau Tongariro. Build in 1929, the hotel was closed permanently in February 2023 due to seismic stability concerns. The building was modelled in the style of the Resort at Lake Louise in Canada. The building is ominous and curious and we were drawn to it for some reason, wanting to understand how it came to be and why it now sat empty. I imagine there were some amazing parties in this building and perhaps the ghosts and spirits of those days remain inside.

We had planned to do some hiking in the area, but discovered we could also take on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The hike is heralded as the best one-day trek in New Zealand and is regarded as among the top ten single-day treks in the world. We spoke to the park officials about doing the trek and if we had the right weather and gear to go the following day. I know that Jess was a little apprehensive about taking on a 20k hike across a volcano. However, after the friendly Whakapapa Camp staff lent her some trekking poles, she agreed! We tucked in early for a good night’s rest in order to start the hike the following day.

NZ Road Trip: South Island Day 12 Heading North
Nootka Island Trail Maintenance Trip

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